Is there any benefit in disabling wifi on my Mac Pro (connected to a time capsule via ethernet)?

I notice that with it disabled airdrop doesn't work and iTunes wireless sync misbehaves.

  • 2
    well, apparently you're using WiFi services, so I wouldn't disable it...
    – MattDMo
    Mar 21, 2013 at 20:15
  • Are you considering internet speed here? Mar 21, 2013 at 20:16
  • no need to, they do not conflict.
    – user44516
    Mar 21, 2013 at 23:39
  • internet speed is not a factor. I was more concerned that enabling both might cause some LAN file transfers to use the slower wi-fi.
    – Jack
    Mar 22, 2013 at 10:19
  • You can still use AirDrop over ethernet with a simple tweak: osxdaily.com/2011/09/16/…
    – Gerry
    Mar 25, 2013 at 21:35

2 Answers 2


The benefit is, well, these other services will work. The drawback is another active network interface, increased chatter on your local network, and a few extra watts blasting at you.

That said, there are a few things that can be done to minimize the disruption.

Personally I find AirDrop to be totally useless when Messages can do everything better: it can easily transfer files over Bonjour with another Mac running not just ML's Messages but also iChat. My office of 60ish users rely on iChat (and now Messages) enough to where "to iChat" has become verbified around here. AirDrop is 10.8 only.

Also, Messages can be set to auto-accept incoming file transfers, look in Preferences > Alerts, change the Event to Incoming file transfer, check the Run AppleScript box and choose the Auto Accept default. AirDrop has no such options.

iTunes wifi synch definitely works best if the Mac's wifi is on, but I don't think wi-fi synch is particularly useful; I'd rather have a faster synch that uses less battery life.

Finally, AirPlay quality depends on many factors, such as your network hardware, signal strength, interference, and the remote devices. Both my 2nd-gen AirPort Express and then my Philips Fidelio AD7000 would stutter and drop off my mixed b/g network from my Linksys WRT350N - until I replaced its firmware with DD-WRT. Since then both have worked flawlessly. Your mileage, of course, may vary.

  • AirDrop works even if devices are connected to separate wi-fi networks, and even if one user isn't actively connected to a network at all. For instance, should a guest come to the office, they can AirDrop you a file without being connected to your corporate network. It leverages an ad-hoc multicasting feature of the AirPort card.
    – bispymusic
    Mar 21, 2013 at 20:58
  • but will it affect speed of LAN transfers? Will the OS just work to use ethernet for copying files?
    – Jack
    Mar 22, 2013 at 10:20
  • Fast Ethernet (100mb) will be faster than wireless for file copies, yes. OS X will use whichever interface is listed first (top) in Network Preferences.
    – da4
    Mar 25, 2013 at 20:47

but will it affect speed of LAN transfers?

Well, you can choose which one would be preferred (by dragging it to the top in the Network preference panel):


As far as I know you cannot get a FASTER transfer by using both at once...

  • thank you. this is the answer I was really after, but due to the not particularly great way I've structured the question, I accepted the more appropriate.
    – Jack
    Mar 26, 2013 at 12:47

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